Christopher Serju, Gleaner Writer
CAPTAIN HAVELON Honeyghan, chairman of the Jamaica Fishermen Co-operative Union, has accused Petcom of predatory business practices and poor corporate citizenship for its failure to give back to the fisheries industry, despite the millions of dollars earned from it.
"You are sucking the blood of the industry, but you don't put back anything," he said in a recent address to the annual general meeting of the co-op held at The Knutsford Court Hotel, New Kingston.
Continuing, he charged: "Petcom, to me, has not done enough for this industry. They have not offered a scholarship for the fishermen. We are using in this industry, about 80 million litres of fuel per annum - that is supplied from Petcom and they have never offered a scholarship to one fisherman's child."
Captain Honeyghan challenged the state-owned oil refinery to emulate other corporate entities which over the years have given back to society by way of sponsoring sporting events or scholarships. He said: "Let poor people children attend university too. You put down one $10-million scholarship for the next five years and I will work with you. If you can't put $10 million, tell me how much you can put."
The veteran fisherman also questioned the company's pricing strategy, which sees the price of fuel to the public fluctuating weekly on the grounds that it flies in the face of good business sense.
"When fuel price goes down in the United States, it goes up in Jamaica. When fuel price goes down on the world market, it goes up in Jamaica," noted Honeyghan.
Declaring that the contract between the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries and Petcom is due for renewal in May, Captain Honeyghan served noticed that his organisation would be seeking to be represented at the signing. With Agriculture Minister Roger Clarke having left the meeting, he directed the challenge to André Kong.
"I want to say to the CEO from fisheries, we are not satisfied and I speak on behalf of the fishing population. If a contract is to be signed with Petcom, we want a representative from this organisation present because the kind of treatment that is meted out to the industry over the years from Petcom is unsatisfactory," Honeyghan charged.
"The willy-nilly way where if you order fuel they tell you that they don't have any ... and you have to sit and wait until they get that … it can't work, it will not work," stated Honeyghan.